There's no place on earth like a Disney theme park, and the ticket price has always reflected that. Now, however, a Disney vacation is going to set you back a bit more. Guests who visit any of Disney's U.S. theme parks starting today will find prices have gone up, and while the increase is a minor one, between $2 and $11 depending on the park and the day, it means a day spent at the Happiest Place on Earth could cost you as much as $135, and that's before a Dole Whip and a churro.
Disney Parks have had a tiered pricing system for the last couple of years and so the price of a day in the park changes depending on the expected crowd size. "Value" days, in which the park is already expected to be less crowded, are the cheapest and have seen the smallest increase, only $2 at the Walt Disney World parks, and no increase at all at Disneyland, while "peak" days at the Magic Kingdom will now be $129 and $122 at the other Walt Disney World parks. Disneyland saw the largest single increase with a "peak" ticket to either of its Anaheim parks increasing $11 to $135. These prices are for single park visits only, adding the "Park Hopper" option, allowing guests to visit multiple parks on the same day, adds a premium on top of that.
While the price is far from cheap, the fact is that Disney Parks have yet to find the price that people won't pay, which is likely why the increase is happening. The Magic Kingdom and Disneyland both have the tendency to reach maximum capacity and close the gates during busy periods like the holiday season. The parks are looking for a price point that will keep the parks busy, but not overcrowded, all year long. Prices have increased several times over the last few years, but the crowds are not deterred.
And crowds are only going to become a bigger problem. Major park additions are planned over the next couple of years with this year seeing the addition of Toy Story Land to Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida and the transformation of Disney's California Adventure's Paradise Pier to Pixar Pier. Next year will see the opening of Star Wars Galaxy's Edge on both coasts, which is expected to bring massive crowds. Don't be shocked to see prices increase again before that happens.
Price increases aren't the only thing Disney is going to try to deal with crowds, as a Disney rep told ABC that the parks will start to sell pre-published, date specific, tickets at Disney World later this year. Currently, tickets purchased can be used anytime, but with date-specific tickets, the park will be able to judge attendance early. If those tickets are also a bit cheaper, it might help entice guests to use them.
Is there a point at which a Disney theme park ticket becomes too expensive? Maybe, but don't expect this to be that point. Now get packing.
Image Courtesy Disney/wdwnews.com